Coronavirus has left millions of Americans unemployed and scrambling on how to balance their budget. Thankfully there are many solutions and stop-gaps in place that have emerged in the past week that will aid during this transition.
Government / Employer Assistance
The federal government just passed the Families First Coronavirus Response act that allows for free Coronavirus testing, paid sick leave allowance and various other paid family leave.
Many states also have passed COVID-19 acts that are meant to help their residents in need that unemployment typically wouldn’t cover. Now those who were self-employed and part-time workers can now receive unemployment. You are also eligible even if you didn’t lose your job! For example, if you are furloughed (if you have not been laid off, but will not receive payment until you go back to work), you can qualify. State payouts vary for unemployment but it averages 45 percent of your lost income.
Many banks and lending agencies are currently putting off payments as well as waiving fees they would normally charge. Large US-based car manufacturers have also said they will provide certain payment assistance to those who have leases. Please contact your banks or other creditors to discuss adjusting payment schedules or waiving fees.
Mortgage Payments & Utilities
All foreclosures and evictions that are operated by federal backed agencies or the federal government themselves. Are currently stopped until this April. For detailed state-level information, please check the Forbes mortgage relief tracker to see your respective state for help.
If you have an FHFA, which features Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loans Banks, there is a 12 month forbearance period. Public housing through the government also will look to stop any evictions. FHA insured mortgages will also be suspended for the next 60 days.
A lot of utility companies stated they will work with consumers to not shut off key essentials such as electricity and water. Cities like Seattle have created policies surrounding this as well. Managing your debt during Coronavirus has become essential; with housing and utilities finally getting some breathing room with these new policies.
Student loans that are backed by the federal government also can be delayed and student loan interest will be halted for the next 60 days. The loan payments are not reduced however, the interest will not build up. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for federal deferment of forbearance. This will allow you to pause the repayment of your loan. However, forbearance allows the government to repay your interest in the interim with it being added on in the final tally. This also is in effect for 60 days. Simply call your loan authorizer and set that up with them. Take a look at different scenarios you could utilize.
This also will be a good time to refinance your student loans as the Federal Reserve has moved interest rates to 0 to help move the economy forward.